The New Archival Canon: Round Two

Last year I asked for your thoughts about what you considered essential readings about archives–either by archivists or not. I’ve organized your suggestions a bit, and they are posted below, but I suspect we still have some gaps in the list of New Essentials. So it’s time for Round Two–what do you think needs to be included in the New Archival Canon, or to put it more modestly, what does ever archivist need to read? What has had the most influence on you? Thanks, as always, for your input.

The List

Jefferson Bailey, Disrespect des Fonds: Rethinking Arrangement and Description in Born-Digital Archives, Archive Journal Summer 2013

Laurie Baty’s “Photographs are not Wallpaper.” NEED CITATION

Francis X. Blouin, Jr. and William G. Rosenberg, Editors, Archives, Documentation, and Institutions of Social Memory: Essays from the Sawyer Seminar,” 2006

Frank Boles, “Just a Bunch of Bigots” A Case Study in the Acquisition of Controversial Material.

Antoinette Burton editor, Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History, 2006

Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor, From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in the Archives, Archivaria, Spring 2016

Scott Cline, “’Dust Clouds of Camels Shall Cover You’: Covenant and the Archival Endeavor.” American Archivist Fall/Winter 2012

Terry Cook, “What is past is prologue: a history of archival ideas since 1898, and the future paradigm shift.” Archivaria 43 (1997): 17-63

Terry Cook and Joan M. Schwartz, “Archives, Records, and Power: From (Postmodern) Theory to (Archival) Performance.” Archival Science 2, no. 3-4 (2002):171–185.

Terry Cook, “The Concept of the Archival Fonds in the Post-Custodial Era: Theory, Problems and Solutions,” Archivaria, Spring 1993

Terry Cook, “Evidence, memory, identity, and community: four shifting archival paradigms,” Archival Science June 2013

Terry Cook, “Fashionable Nonsense or Professional Rebirth: Postmodernism and the Practice of Archives,” Archivaria Spring 2001

Bruce Dearstyne, Leading and managing archives and records programs: strategies for success, 2008

Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever, 1998


Jarrett M. Drake, Insurgent citizens: the manufacture of police records in post-Katrina New Orleans and its implications for human rights, Archival Science October 2014

Michel Duchein, “Theoretical Principles and Practical Problems of Respect des fonds in Archival Science,” Archivaria Summer 1983

Luciana Duranti, Archives as a Place, Archives & Social Studies: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Research Vol. 1, no. 0 (March 2007)

Luciana Duranti, Diplomatics: New Uses for an Old Science, Archivaria, Summer 1989:

Ursula Franklin’s The Real World of Technology (1992)

Elsie Freeman, “Buying Quarter Inch Holes: Public Support Through Results” Midwestern Archivist, 1985:


Timothy J. Gilfoyle, “Prostitutes in the Archives: Problems and Possibilities in Documenting the History of Sexuality,” American Archivist Summer 1994

Anne Gilliland and Sue McKemmish, “Building an Infrastructure for Archival Research,” Archival Science December 2004

Tim Gollins, Parsimonious preservation: preventing pointless processes! (The small simple steps that take digital preservation a long way forward), 2009 …

Mark A. Greene and Dennis Meissner, “More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing,” American Archivist Fall/Winter 2005

Gerald Ham, The Archival Edge, American Archivist, Jan. 1975:

Verne Harris, Archives and Justice: A South African Perspective,2013

Peter Hirtle, Authenticity in a Digital Environment, CLIR, 2000:

Randall C. Jimerson, Archives Power: Memory, Accountability, and Social Justice, 2009

Randall C. Jimerson, “Archives for All: Professional Responsibility and Social Justice,” American Archivist Fall/Winter 2007

Elisabeth Kaplan, “We Are What We Collect, We Collect What We Are: Archives and the Construction of Identity,” American Archivist Spring/Summer 2000

Eric Ketelaar, “Archival Temples, Archival Prisons: Modes of Power and Protection,” Archival Science 2, 2002

Eric Ketelaar, Tacit Narratives: The Meanings of Archives, Archival Science 2001

Matthew Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (2008)

Michelle Light and Tom Hyry (2002) Colophons and Annotations: New Directions for the Finding Aid. The American Archivist: Fall/Winter, Vol. 65, No. 2, pp. 216-230.

John MacDonald, Managing Records in a Modern Office: Taming the Wild Frontier, Archivaria 29 Spring 1995:

Sue McKemmish, “Evidence of Me,” The Australian Library Journal 1996

Ernst Posner’s American State ArchivesArchives & the Public Interest: selected essays,  and Archives in the ancient world. (“None of them end up being the book you thought you were going to read.”)

Protocols for Native American Archival Materials

Lee Raine and Barry Wellman, Networked: The New Social Operating System 2014

Peter Scott (1966) The Record Group Concept: A Case for Abandonment. The American Archivist: October 1966, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 493-504:

Joan M. Schwartz, “Records of Simple Truth and Precision”: Photography, Archives, and the Illusion of Control, Archivaria Fall 2000

Lucy Suchman, Making Work Visible, Communications of the ACM, Sept 1995:’s+Making+Work+Visible.pdf

Ciaran B. Trace, “What is Recorded is Never Simply ‘What Happened’: Record Keeping in Modern Organizational Culture,” Archival Science 2002

Reto Tschan, A Comparison of Jenkinson and Schellenberg on Appraisal, American Archivist Fall/Winter 2002:

S. Williams Implications of Archival Labor,

Mark D. Wolfe, “Beyond ‘‘green buildings:’’ exploring the effects of Jevons’ Paradox on the sustainability of archival practices, 2011.

Elizabeth Yakel, “Archival Representation,” Archival Science 2003

Elisabeth Yakel,  “Thinking Inside and Outside the Boxes” …


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4 thoughts on “The New Archival Canon: Round Two”

  1. Matthew Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (2008)
    “Here we follow the bits all the way down to the metal.” (xiv)
    Kirschenbaum takes a book history approach to the thingness of computing, and explores the forensic materiality of computing (bits are magnetic, physical materials make up the computer, the wires and protocols of the network, etc) and the formal materiality (roughly, the immaterial manipulation of symbols that happens in a computing environment.) Essential grounding digital preservation theory and work.

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